Today has been an excellent day.
My sister is finally home from Pittsburgh, where she donated 60% of her liver in a live transplant to our uncle. I'll be visiting her tomorrow afternoon. I'm so happy she is healing well, and is back home getting lots of love from her kitty who missed her very much. Thanks again to everyone who sent a prayer up on her behalf.
Today we went on a fabulous XC outing. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any video, and here is our sole photo:
It was a gorgeous day. The footing at The Meadows of Moorpark was excellent, even with the recent rain (which actually cancelled our schooling planned for Galway Downs or Shepherd - thank goodness for the Meadows!).
Hemie was an absolute rockstar. I hadn't ridden him since last Tuesday, due to aforementioned rain and my new barn being super prissy about all 8 of their arenas (seriously - couldn't they let us just have one for rainy days??). So he was fresh, and got a good longe before loading up in the trailer. But he was happy to get out and about and got right down to work. We warmed up excellently over a few cross rails, then headed over to some very small intro-sized logs and other solid jumps (under 2' high).
We encountered our first and only issue - exiting stage right on approach to jump. Specifically, his hips would swing right, then his ribs would bulge out against any form of bend, and then he'd drift sideways right. We put that to a stop right away with solid right leg forcing right bend and moving left, plus bending right while opening left rein for him to accept and to guide him back to straight. Luckily we were jumping tiny little things that we could jump sideways. Which we did once or twice before he went "OOooh, I have to go *straight* in order to jump. Okay!" I could feel it click in his horsey brain, and from there on out just a small tap of the whip on his right shoulder or and extra bump with right leg would do the trick if I felt him starting to drift his hiney.
We did several intro sized jumps then moved onto some Beginner Novice sized fences. He was a pro and bravely, yet carefully, jumped all of them. We did ditches and banks too - no prob. He went straight into the water without so much as sniffing it - just walked right in. We did a course of about 8 jumps and he was loving it. After one jump he took off a little bit - not crazy wild, just a little excited. So we circled and did it again and he came right back to me.
For the first time we did some jumps on a hill, and Hemie did a great job of staying balanced and listening, while figuring out where to put his feet. I could tell he liked the puzzle, and always was looking for the next jump.
I'm just such a proud mama, and very happy that he is enjoying cross country.